Today we had Stake Conference way in Plainview: an hour and a half away. Carmelo came and loved it! It’s awesome how much he loves church.
Saw Elder Holgate there, and he pulled me aside in an unusual manner. It was a tender mercy from the Lord that I must never forget. “ I don’t know you, “ he said, “But whoever taught you did it right”. What he said at continuation stunned me. I don’t know him any better than he knows me. (we met at Zone Training Meeting), but from what I hear from other missionaries and what I feel from his Spirit, I revere him and his wife. They were certainly some of the noble and great ones. The words he spoke to me were overwhelming and such a tender mercy to me right now.
Yesterday we went to the studio to record. I felt an awful lot like Nephi marching into Jerusalem at night “not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.” Generally that’s not how you produce albums you want to distribute all over America, but there was no other option. Luanne and I had practiced a total of about four hours, enough for us to run through twenty different songs and see what style she was looking for. Being adamant about not letting the project take away from the work, that’s all the time I could scrape up. Walking into a recording studio with absolutely nothing composed is not a comfortable feeling, let me tell you. Luanne is rich, but that’s still a lot of money on the line. But we prayed and pressed forward, absolutely believing that this project was commanded of the Lord.
Luanne is a very inspired and led woman who spends a good portion of her life fasting (sometimes I wonder if she ever eats). She says she’s felt inspired to record this album for a long time, but wanted the accompaniment to be piano and none of her music students were piano experts. When I played a piano solo in sacrament meeting a few weeks ago, she said she felt a strong impression that I was supposed to be the pianist. Since then we’ve had some pretty remarkable spiritual experiences confirming that this is inspired. Many of the “less common” songs on the album are product of Luanne waking up in the night dreaming that song should be there. One of them (“Each Life That Touches Ours For Good”), I felt impressed to add. As I made the suggestion, Luanne said that title had been in her head the whole day, but she had never before heard the song.
Anyways, with a lot of faith we went in and I layed down the piano. Right up front I told Nick (the studio recorder) we had to scrap the click-vocals Luanne had layed because the nature of the songs we were doing had way to much tempo variance when I play them. So I was left then composing an arrangement for vocals that didn’t exist yet. Luanne was right behind me singing in my ear, it was super ghetto.
All I can say is that the album isn’t going to be the best, but that everything on there is inspiration. God blessed us with a miracle and abilities far beyond what I actually possess. Therefore, despite its weakness, I know without a doubt that this project will touch some soul out there.
Answers to parent questions:
Who is Elder Holgate?
Elder Holgate is a senior missionary in the Riverhead branch
Elder Martino said that the Hampton area is seeing some miracles right now. Tell us about the work and what is happening there?
The work here is doing awesome. In the last transfer sacrament attendance has gone up 30-40%. Tomorrow is transfers. Elder Johnson is leaving. That was very kind of Elder Martino to write, he is an incredible man. He was a mission president in the next mission over from Danai.
I read your journal entries. I am a little lost on the Album. It sounds cool... tell us more. What is the album? What is it for? You say it is to distribute all over America? Is this Luanne's personal project. Tell me more. Is this "project" sanctioned by your leaders?
Yeah sorry didn't quite get to wifi for a while to explain. So the album.... Luanne is a music professional who wanted to record a hymn album. She's a singer and asked me to compose the music for it and play the piano. So yeah forgot to mention that but I will send you a CD when they come out. Just finished laying the piano tracks. She wants to sell the album but also provide it in this mission as a free tool. And yes the mission president is on board and excited to hear the music!
|The Carcamo family. 7 weeks ago were inactive. Now they are the most solid members in the branch. They are here to stay.|
Well I've been loving it here in Hamptons during this seven week transfer! The work has been transforming here. The Martinos (senior couple) are finally getting traction. They've been here since the start of the year and are incredible!! All senior couples: go on a mission for crying out loud. You have so much more power than we do. Seriously. Missionaries are important, but members are the key, and a senior couple plays the role of both.
Our zone is rocky. Very much a fixer upper but we are getting there. It's a large and wild thing but there's nothing wrong with a little challenge eh?
Elder Johnson is leaving tomorrow. He's spent a year in this area. A year! So with his knowledge and relationship with the people, things have really payed off this transfer! Church attendance is up, investigators are progressing (we might have some baptisms here soon) and the members are excited. Seven weeks ago the average attendance was 40-45. Now we are more like 55-60. One week we hit 80 with 17 investigators! So the greater part of church attendance has been less actives and investigators which is crazy.
I wish I could tell you all about the people and the miracles but that would just take all day and then some. But to me the most important thing I want everyone to know is this: I know that this gospel is
true. I love the Lord. I love being a missionary. I love the scriptures. I know that the commandments are so loving. I love being a member of this church. I know it's lead by Jesus Christ and by true
and living prophets. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
|had to change a bulb|